6 Keys To Selling Jewelry For Beginners
Get your jewelry business off the ground with this guide
Selling jewelry is one of the oldest businesses in the world.
Ever since there were shiny pieces of metal, people have wanted to wear and own those shiny pieces of metal.
That means that there’s always been people to trade and sell shiny pieces of metal to those who want to look and feel great.
However, in the modern economy, things are quite a bit different from the stone age. You can’t expect to just buy a few pieces of jewelry, open a store, and see a lot of success from day one.
In fact, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
While it’s not possible to give you a jewelry MBA in one blog post, we are certainly going to do our best.
In this post, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of running a successful jewelry business.
Whether you are thinking about starting a jewelry retail business, are actively starting one now, or already have a business going, we’re sure you’ll get a ton of value out of this article.
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#0: Make Sure Your Finances Are Right
No, this wasn’t a typo: we have a step 0 in this guide.
We did that for one simple reason: to underline the importance of having your underlying finances in order before starting your business.
We’re going to assume that you are a solopreneur or that you have a small team with less than 10 people.
In that case, you want to keep your operating costs as low as possible until you have a consistent revenue stream from your business.
What does that look like in action?
Well, if you know anything about internet marketing (or know someone who does), it could be smarter to open up an internet shop before a physical one.
We’ll put it this way: internet hosting costs are a LOT more affordable than rent payments on a store.
However, if you are determined to have a physical presence, consider: can you have a jewelry “stall” in a bigger market to test the waters first? Can you sell your jewelry at parties or at special events without having to rent a store?
If you insist on having a storefront, the wise choice is to pick a very small location so that rent costs will be low. Over time, you can scale things up as you see hard income numbers.
#1: Know Your Target Customer
This step, knowing your target customer, is crucial to the success of your business. PLEASE don’t skimp on doing the work here – it is the foundation for everything else you do in your business.
In all of the other keys to jewelry selling success we’ll lay out later, we’ll be using the info you provided here to decide your future strategy.
When we say, “know your target customer”, we mean knowing the following things about your target customer:
- What kinds of things do they value?
- Who does your target customer want to look like?
- Who does your target customer want to impress?
- What does your target customer think is cool?
- How old is your target customer? Are they male or female?
- What job do they have? How much money do they make?
- What are your target customer’s hopes? Their fears?
This may seem like way too much work, at too deep of a level, for selling jewelry.
You may be thinking, “Come on. We’re not a therapy practice. We sell shiny things for heaven’s sake!”
We say this for your own benefit: the more time and energy you invest in deeply understanding your customers on a psychological level, the more money you will make in your jewelry business.
Of course, you can’t just answer all these questions once and then be done with them. You have to revisit them and refine them, over and over.
However, you DO have to give these questions your “best guess”. Otherwise, your business will be built on a very shaky foundation.
After all, the most important people in your business are your customers. They’re the ones paying the bills! So if you don’t know them well, how will you market to them and sell to them effectively?
If you have a physical location already, or one in mind, that will in part determine who your target customers are.
For example, if your jewelry store is in Myrtle Beach, or another “party central” beach town, you’re going to have a very specific type of customer: beachgoers looking for fun jewelry they won’t regret losing in a bit of drunken revelry.
That type of customer is VERY different for the type of people who would frequent a jewelry store in a trendy, downtown, professional area.
And your approach must change accordingly.
#2: Make Sure You Buy High Quality Jewelry Only
High quality jewelry isn’t necessarily made out of gold or silver.
High quality jewelry is basically jewelry that IS what it says it is, and is manufactured in a way so that it doesn’t break easily.
If you have a stainless steel earring that is actually made out of stainless steel, you have high quality jewelry.
This may seem obvious. But trust us – there is an abundance of fake jewelry out there marketing itself as the real deal.
This fake jewelry uses materials like lead and nickel as cheap substitutes for better quality metals.
This is good for the faux jewelry sellers, and not so good for you and your customers.
All it takes is one ring that turns your customer’s finger green from having nickel in it to lose that customer for good.
Jewelry business fundamentals are mainly business fundamentals with some jewelry specific knowledge thrown in.
And one business maxim, expressed eloquently by Gary Vaynerchuk, is that “all the marketing in the world can’t fix a bad product.”
Remember though – everything comes back to your target audience. If you have a party going crowd, you’re not going to want to sell them high carat gold jewelry. They won’t have the budget for these pieces, and they won’t want to wear them on vacation, which makes a sale less appealing to them.
For this crowd, sterling silver or stainless steel would be a better choice.
Same thing goes if you have a college crowd that is progressive in nature – they’re going to want a lot of facial and body piercing jewelry, which is usually made out of stainless steel or sterling silver.
However, if you have some high status business types, you can bet they’ll be interested in some platinum or gold watches
#3: Take Care Of Your Jewelry And Display It Properly
This step may seem basic, but it’s oh so important.
If your jewelry isn’t shiny and beautiful, people won’t buy!
It’s not like house or car buying, where sometimes people will say, “yeah, this one has a few problems… but the price is great. It’s a real fixer upper!”
Your jewelry needs to be pristine and displayed in an appealing way.
For most, this means a glass case or cabinet. And that means that you need to be polishing that cabinet daily! It should look so clean that customers are surprised that they feel glass when they reach out to touch your jewelry.
As far as taking care of the jewelry, we have a whole post on how to care for sterling silver jewelry right here.
But the short version is:
- Store your jewelry in cases that are airtight as possible
- Clean your jewelry regularly with a polishing cloth
- Don’t store your jewelry in the same containers – they will scratch each other. At minimum, they should have separate plastic bags in the same container
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#4: Hire Knowledgeable, Friendly, Socially Skilled Sales Reps
You want to hire sales reps that inspire trust in others.
You know that kind of person – the bartender who listens to every word you say as he makes you another drink. The customer service rep who seems genuinely interested in hearing about your day, even over the phone. The personal trainer who is always ready to meet you with a genuine smile.
These people are successful at their jobs with good reason: they make other people feel good.
And when people feel good about your business, they’re a lot more likely to buy from you.
After this “baseline” of looking for friendly, socially skilled reps, things start to become a little more dependent on your target customer.
If you are selling to younger customers, you may want to have a mid 20s rep in the store – they’ll feel more comfortable around them.
If you are selling to high end clientele, you may want an older rep who gives more of an appearance of wisdom, knowledge, and experience.
Just remember: you don’t have to hire people who know anything about jewelry. You can train them in that area relatively quickly.
However, your hires MUST have a service oriented, friendly attitude, and excellent communication skills.
#5: Market Your Business!
Now that you have some of the fundamentals down, you must remember to market your business continually.
With the steps we outlined above, you’ll create an amazing experience for any customers who walk in your door.
Now, you just have to make sure people are actually walking in the door in the first place!
Remember: nobody necessarily cares about or knows about your business unless you give them a reason to do so.
It’s not your customers’ job to “discover you”. It’s your job to let your target customers know where you are, what you offer, and why they should come by!
Consider having an opening party, cocktail nights, charity auctions, or other fun events at your store that will get people in the doors, even if they aren’t buying jewelry that second.
The specific event will depend on your target customer, but the core theme is: get people inside your store!
If you have a physical store, you should at the very least have a Google Maps listing. And it would be even better if you had a simple, clean, well designed website letting people know where your store is at, what you sell, and what your hours are.
If you have an online store, most of the advice in this article could be summarized as: MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE LOOKS PRETTY!
Jewelry buyers are by definition very image and design conscious. So if your site looks like it was built in 1999, you’re going to lose out on a lot of money.
You should either use an established platform like Shopify or hire a real web pro to do this work for you – ignore your friend’s son or daughter who is offering to build your website for 100 bucks.
Online, there is a whole deep rabbit hole of content marketing, pay per click ads, and email marketing to learn about which we can’t cover here.
There are plenty of online resources to help you in these areas, but always remember to tailor everything you do to your target audience.
If you follow these 6 fundamentals for running a successful jewelry business, your chances of success will skyrocket.
If you remember one thing from this article, remember this: everything revolves around serving your target customers!